The Final Critique

Derek Schwartz

   I think that it is safe to say that we have hit the final stretch of the program.  After a week of hard work, last night we finally finished our multiples assignment and today we spent our morning in an in depth critique of the work.  In the multiples assignment, we were given the freedom to choose who or what we would photograph and the only guideline was that we needed to take images that played off of each other in some way.  With this lack of restrictions, each student picked a project that played to their individual strengths but people still tended to pick topics that pushed them to the edge of their comfort zone.  As a result, every student ended up with an idea that allowed them to thrive as a photographer and I believe that the work today was the strongest that we have seen so far.

            The main topic that came up in the critique today was the idea that pictures are meant to be more than aesthetically pleasing images.  Where as at my high school (and I am sure most others) the emphasis is on taking pictures that look artistic, here at Tisch, we are being taught how to make a clear and well-defined message from our work.  Today, the work that received the most praise was not necessarily the most visually appealing but rather the work that delivered a sincere point.  Amongst the class, there was a huge range of messages in the work, ranging from literal to abstract but each one was well thought out and well executed.  I found it interesting how clearly people showed their own identity in the message they chose to pursue in their multiples assignment.  In nearly every case, I feel that I would have been able to match the artist to the project without having seen them working for the past week, which shows that students were picking topics that were important to them.

After the critique, we grabbed lunch to go and headed over to Harlem to see the As It Is As It Could Be exhibition at The Studio Museum.  This exhibition is different from the others that we have seen up until now in that it consists of artwork by students no older than us and we had the opportunity to interact with the actual artists.  Especially having just participated in the critique back at Tisch, it was impossible to avoid the power of the messages that the young photographers portrayed in their work.  It seemed that every aspect of every photograph in the exhibition was thought out and premeditated to further prove a point that was important to the photographer.  Though the students in the program only had nine months to put together their project, each of the photographs in the exhibition was beautiful and unique from the others around it.



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